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Newcastle player says Rafa Benitez understands why his form has been so poor

4 months ago
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Fair to say Newcastle fans weren’t impressed when Christian Atsu came on at Old Trafford last Saturday.

Yoshinori Muto had ran himself into the ground for 78 minutes and scored an excellent goal, Atsu replacing him for the final 12 minutes just after Man Utd had equalised.

The 90th minute of course saw the home side get the winner but prior to that Newcastle had some excellent situations on the counter-attack.

However, Christian Atsu in particular looking totally off the pace and lacking in decision making, wasting one great opportunity which left Jonjo Shelvey visibly sowing his frustration.

The week before the winger had got his first Premier League start of the season, Kenedy dropping to left-back and Atsu in front of him.

The Ghanaian international had a poor game and the only bright spot was an excellent first half cross for Diame when the game was goalless, the midfielder missing a very easy header.

On international duty, Christian Atsu has been speaking to the media and claims he has been struggling due to the after effects of surgery in the summer.

The player saying that Rafa Benitez has been very understanding as to the reasons for is poor form, especially a lack of pace.

I’m not sure what to make of Atsu, at times it looks like there is a Premier League player there, but very little consistency.

He scored five times in the Championship and twice last season, in the wins over Stoke at home and West Ham away, that latter game arguably his best so far.

Maybe the best illustration of his time at Newcastle United is that Rafa Benitez has named the former Chelsea player in his matchday squad 70 times for league matches – exactly split – 35 times on the bench and 35 in the first team.

Christian Atsu speaking to Hello FM:

“The surgery I had (this summer) has affected me in several ways.

“This is my third season with Newcastle United.

“First season was when I joined them on loan from Chelsea in the Championship and had enough playing time, eventually qualifying back to the Premier League.

“Second season – I played a lot of games.

“But things have changed this time around because of the surgery I underwent before the World Cup.

“It has really affected my play because I’ve been a little slow but I’m working hard to hit top form soon.

“Rafael Benitez understands my situation and he is trying his best for me.

“In fact, he has in a way adopted me as his son and I regard him as my father too.”

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